15 thoughts: IceCaps beat P-Bruins, 4-0

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15 thoughts: IceCaps beat P-Bruins, 4-0

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Here are Joe Haggerty's thoughts from the Providence Bruins - St. John's IceCaps game at the Dunkin Donuts Center

FIRST PERIOD, 2-0 ICECAPS

1) First time in a couple of months that Michael Hutchinson gets the back-to-back starts and he allows a couple of tipped goals on 11 shots faced. Tough to blame him on either of them, both were high shots tipped over his shoulders.

2) Active first period for Craig Cunningham, who had a couple of the best scoring chances for the P-Bruins. One came on a breakaway attempt stopped by the St. John's goaltender, and the other was a screened shot through the high slot. He led Providence with three shots on net in the first and tied with Derek Meech for the game-high.

3) Tough period for Jordan Caron, who took a pair of penalties -- with one that led to a St. John's power play goal. It's good to see Caron get a little more physical -- he dropped the gloves for his first career pro hockey fight this weekend -- but he needs to play that game with discipline rather than landing in the box for elbowing and high-sticking calls.

4) No Ryan Spooner this afternoon. No Jared Knight (hamstring) and no Torey Krug either. That makes for an extremely undermanned P-Bruins unit.

5) Providence penalty kill unit continues to come up short. One goal by St. John's came on the man advantage and continue to light the P-Bruins most glaring team weakness.

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Here are five thoughts from the second period with the P-Bruins trailing the St. John's IceCaps by a 3-0 score after 40 minutes of action at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

SECOND PERIOD, 3-0 ICECAPS

1) Michael Hutchinson surrendered another power play goal in the second period, and this time it was a high point shot through traffic that the goaltender bobbled in front. Kael Mouillierat smacked in the loose puck for the IceCaps score.

2) A great potential momentum changing shift for the Lane MacDermidChristian HansonBobby Robins energy line in the second period. With the puck deep in the St. John's end MacDermid crushed the IceCaps defenseman with a punishing forecheck. That caused the puck to slide in front of the net to Robbins, but IceCaps goalie Mark Dekanich was able to smother the puck.

3) Another penalty for Jordan Caron in the second period giving him a hat trick of penalties for the game. Caron is looking sluggish and slow to react in his skating this afternoon. When that happens bad things follow the former first round pick.

4) In the good news department Carter Camper is back in the lineup for the P-Bruins and appears to be moving around well on the ice. Has three shots on net through two periods.

5) What a hockey name: Kael Mouillierat. Best one I've come across in the AHL thus far this season. His teammate Maxime Macenauer is no slouch either, however.

THIRD PERIOD, 4-0 ICECAPS

1) A bad David Warsofsky turnover leads to another St. John's goal in the third period. This afternoon is definitely not one to write home about for the Spoked P.

2) Jamie Tardif and Craig Cunningham were the leading attackers in shots on net, but couldn't get anything past St. John's goalie Mark Dekanich.

3) The P-Bruins have outshot St. John's by a 40-27 margin, but it certainly hasn't felt that way in a very one-sided affair.

4) St. John's skater Derek Meech led all forwards with six shots on net, but didn't end up with any points. How about that?

5) Might be time for coach Bruce Cassidy to go back to Niklas Svedberg on Friday and Sunday with Michael Hutchinson on Saturday. Seemed to work well, eh?

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''